How to Care for School Uniforms

Expert Tips to Make Them Last

With the start of a new school term, parents are busy preparing their children for a world of learning, growth and fun. Among the essential back-to-school checklist items is the school uniform - an integral part of every student's identity. School uniforms can be a significant investment for families, and we all know that they have much to endure - spills, stains, play, and the daily wear and tear. However, with proper care, they can last and look vibrant for the entire school year and even be handed down to another child or given away, making them very sustainable. Here, Sophie Lane, product training manager for Miele GB shares her top tips for ensuring school uniforms stay looking their best.

Check the Laundry Labels

Paying attention to laundry labels is essential to ensure the longevity of each element in your child's school uniform. Different fabrics and materials may require specific care. Washing at the right temperature and using the appropriate wash cycle can make a significant difference. For instance, items made of delicate materials like blouses or skirts may need a gentle wash setting, while sturdier pieces like trousers or shirts can handle a regular cycle. Blazers may be “dry clean only” and it is important to heed this instruction to prevent damage and shrinkage.

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Wash Colours Separately

Washing colours separately is a practical tip to maintain the vibrancy of each uniform piece. Mixing dark-coloured items with lighter ones can lead to colour bleeding and fading, leaving your uniforms looking dull and worn out. Before adding them in the machine, sort the garments into colour groups and wash them separately, ideally with a specific detergent such as Miele’s Ultra Colour or Ultra Dark to preserve their original brightness and depth of colour.

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Wash School Jumpers Inside Out to Prevent Piling & Bobbling

School jumpers are a staple in any uniform, and they deserve extra attention when it comes to washing. Sophie Lane advises that you should always wash school jumpers inside out. This simple step helps to reduce the possibility of piling or bobbles forming, ensuring that they stay looking new and fresher for longer.

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Pre-Treat Stains on Shirts

Children will be children, and stains are an inevitable consequence of their fun, messy and active daily activities. To prevent stubborn stains from setting into the fabric, make sure to pre-treat them before washing. Use a stain remover or simply apply a small amount of liquid detergent directly to the stain and gently rub it in. Let it sit for a few minutes before adding the garment into the washing machine.

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Mind Zips and Buttons

Zipping up or buttoning down uniforms and removing any badges before placing them in the washing machine can prevent snagging on other garments.

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Don’t Overload - The Key to Optimal Results

Nobody likes heavy creasing or poor wash results. That's why Sophie Lane strongly recommends not overloading the washing machine. It's essential to follow the recommended maximum capacity for each wash program, usually mentioned in the washing machine's manual. By doing this, your uniform items will have enough space to move freely, ensuring a thorough and effective wash, every time.

Sophie points out that 1kg is roughly equal to 4-8 dry school shirts, depending on their size. Different manufacturers may provide load capacity in wet clothing weight or dry laundry weight, so make sure to double-check.

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Avoid Quick Washes

While quick washes might seem like a time-saver, Sophie Lane advises against using them for normal soiled school uniforms. Quick washes, such as those lasting 20 or 30 minutes, may not allow enough time for detergent capsules or powder to dissolve completely, leading to poor wash results. Instead, use these quick cycles only for freshening up clean clothing, and opt for the regular wash cycle to ensure a thorough clean for your school uniforms.

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Reduce Spin Speed for Minimal Ironing

Let's face it, ironing can be a hassle, especially with a pile of school uniforms. Sophie suggests using a program like the Miele "minimum iron" setting if available in your washing machine. This will leave your garments as crease-free as possible, saving you time and effort. If this program isn't an option, consider reducing the spin speed to around 1000rpm. While clothes may retain a bit more water, they'll still dry efficiently while requiring less ironing.

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Special Care for Sportswear

Active kids mean sportswear will likely be part of the uniform laundry basket. Sophie advises avoiding using fabric conditioners for sportswear, as they can block "breathable" fabrics. Instead, opt for a specialist detergent like Miele's Sportswear detergent, which breaks down bad odours and helps prevent Lycra from snagging or causing electrostatic charging of fibres. This extra care will extend the lifespan of sportswear, making them last through countless games and activities.

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Rotate Uniforms

To avoid over-washing and excessive wear on a particular uniform set, consider having at least two sets in rotation. This way, each outfit gets more time to rest between wears and washes, reducing the overall wear and tear.

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Mend and Repair
Instead of discarding uniforms with minor damages like loose hems, small tears, or missing buttons, take the time to mend and repair them. Sewing on a button or fixing a small tear can give the garment a new lease of life, extending its usability and reducing the need to buy replacements.

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